Enamelled cast iron cookware is both functional and aesthetic, and holds a special place in the hearts of many home cooks. However, enameled cast iron parts like Le Creuset and Staub’s pans and Dutch ovens can be expensive, and you’ll need to take good care of them so they’ll last many, many years.
Enamelled cast iron cookware has an enamel coating that is smoother and easier to clean than uncoated cast iron cookware. Enamelled cast iron cookware is not the same as uncoated cast iron cookware, and it is cared for differently than uncoated cast iron cookware (check out our uncoated cast iron cleaning and care guide).
To learn the proper way to use, clean, and store enameled cast iron cookware, we spoke to experts Nate Collier, Director of Marketing Communications at Le Creuset, and Adam Blank, SVP of Sales at Sur La Table, as they explain the dos and don’ts of caring for enameled cast iron pots and pans.
Enamelled cast iron cookware is not as temperamental as uncoated cast iron cookware, but should still be handled with care. These cooking, cleaning and storage products are ideal for use with enameled cast iron cookware.
Both Blank and Collier recommend cleaning enameled cast-iron cookware by hand, rather than washing it in the dishwasher—even if the piece is dishwasher-safe. “Enamel is safe with normal mild dishwashing liquid,” says Blank, but “you want to avoid abrasive cleaners.”
When cleaning nonstick cookware, be sure to use a sponge that won’t scratch the exterior of the enamel, Blank says. “I recommend using a soft natural or nylon brush or sponge. Avoid using any abrasives like scouring pads or metal sponges as these may damage the enamel.”
Dobie Pads are an anti-scratch sponge that is very gentle enough to be used on enamel surfaces, but excels at wiping away food that’s stuck to it.
If sponges aren’t your thing, try our favorite Swedish wipes. This option is super absorbent and comes in an interesting set of colors so you can specify certain fabrics for certain jobs. Read more in our review.
“Brushes can be used to remove small amounts of food deposits,” Collier says, “or to clean between the ribs on the grill.”
Baking soda helps to gently scrub away stubborn buildup and stains inside and outside of enameled cast iron cookware. “A paste of baking soda and water,” says Collier, “can be used to clean stubborn stains, oils, and marks.” Baking soda is also great for other rooms and appliances in your home, like when you need to clean your oven .
Deep stains on the inside of enameled cast iron cookware can be removed by boiling OxiClean and water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, allow solution to cool completely, then pour and wash pot as usual.
After cleaning enameled cast iron, dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth before storing. Flour sack dish towels can also be used to protect the pieces during storage; just put the towel in the pot or pan before putting another piece in it.
$15.95 saura table
“Premium enameled cast iron is chip resistant,” says Blank, “but be extra careful, and if you store your cookware in stacks, I recommend using a pan protector.” Blank recommends this highly rated pan protector, It comes in three sizes to accommodate smaller and larger parts.
A pot holder organizer can also help protect the enamel from scratching or chipping during storage.
“Let your cookware cool for at least 15 minutes first,” says Blank before cleaning. “While many brands of dishwashers are safe, I recommend always washing by hand to keep the inside of the pan shiny, which helps release the food and keeps the color on the outside of the pan bright.”
Blank and Collier recommend cleaning enameled cast iron as follows:
step 1: Allow to cool to room temperature before washing.
Step 2: If there is a lot of residue in the pot or pan, soak it in warm water and dish soap for 15 to 20 minutes before placing it with a sponge. If not, just wash the pot or pan with a sponge and hot soapy water.
Step 3: Wipe clean with a sponge or rag.
Step 4: Rinse with lukewarm water.
Step 5: Dry with a soft towel.
“My favorite tip,” says Blank, “is to fill your cooker with water, add baking soda, and cook for about 10 minutes. This should remove any stuck food particles or stains.” Same method Can be used with OxiClean or any other oxygen bleach for deeper cleaning.
There are some precautions when using, cleaning and storing enameled iron castings to ensure they will last a long time. These cooking, cleaning and storage tips will help you keep these parts in good working order for years to come.
- Use silicone tools, wooden or heat-resistant plastic cooking tools.
- When absolutely necessary, metal cooking tools, such as spoons or balloon whisks, can be used, but be careful as they should not scratch the surface of the enamel.
- Do not tap the cooking tools on the side of the pot.
- Hand-held electric or battery-powered whisks should not be used, as their blades can damage tooth enamel.
- Sharp-edged knives or utensils should not be used to cut food in enameled cast iron pans.
- Never put a hot pan in cold water or pour cold water into a hot pan as it can crack the enamel from thermal shock.
- Do not use stain removers or other abrasive cleaners on cooking surfaces.
- Do not use metal pads or rough abrasives to clean the scrubbing tool.
- Store pans in a dry cupboard or ventilated space away from steam.
- Never store enameled cast iron cookware when it is wet or damp.
- Use pot protectors to safely stack enameled cast iron cookware.
- Periodically check and retighten all handles and knobs to keep them tight.